The electric cars that could boil your kettle for days during storm power cuts

Blog
5 minute read
5/4/2022 12:35 PM
Updated:
3/11/2022 8:20 PM
"How your EV can run your household appliances for days during power cuts: The Kia EV6 has a vehicle-to-load feature that turns the car into a mobile power station"
  • Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 electric SUV both have a 'vehicle-to-load' feature
  • This converts the lithium-ion battery pack that powers the electric motors into a charging station for home appliances during power cuts or when camping
  • An adapter with a three-pin socket can be plugged into the car's charging socket
  • Experts say it can run household for appliances for days if there are blackouts

With much of the UK today being battered by Storm Eunice, sparking the strongest wind on record in the south to massive snowfall in the north, a number of households are already experiencing power cuts, with more predicted for the weekend.

For those suffering this unfortunately consequence, if they have one of the latest Korean electric cars on their driveway they will be able to keep their home appliances running for days.

That's because the £37,500 Hyundai Ioniq 5 and £41,000 Kia EV6 boast a feature that turns the vehicles into mobile power stations that can charge laptops, power a fridge or even watch TV for hours on end.

The electric SUVs both have something called 'Vehicle-to-load' (V2L) technology, which consists of a three-pin adapter that plugs into the cars' charging sockets to take electricity directly from the lithium-ion battery so you can boil a kettle even when your house has no power.

While electric cars are undeniably expensive to buy and certainly not to all tastes, they offer one big benefit to owners if there are power cuts and blackouts for prolonged periods.

The sister Korean brands have developed 'built-in bi-directional chargers' that can take electricity away from the lithium-ion batteries as well as send it to them - tech that's expected to feature on most new electric models.

Bi-directional systems are designed to allow plug-in vehicles to send electricity stored in their batteries back to the grid (vehicle-to-grid, or V2G), which can be financially lucrative for owners who charge at the cheapest off-peak times and sell that electricity back to the network during the most expensive in-demand hours.  

But instead of sending electricity to the grid, or providing power to drive the cars for up to 328 miles (for the Kia, at least), the energy stored in the battery packs can also be utilised to keep home appliances running for hours on end.

Up to 3.6kW of power to be transferred from the vehicle battery to other devices when the car is not running at all.

This V2L function allows occupants to charge electrical items with a specific adapter plug - which is supplied with the cars - that was originally designed as a useful tool for powering camping equipment for those taking their electric cars on mini breaks.

Hyundai's Ioniq 5 also has an interior three-pin socket under the front seats that accesses the same system.

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